Hallstatt – An Austrian Ode to Beauty

Hallstatt takes you back to fairytale dreams – honestly, it is one of the best places that we (Sandhya and Vijay) have ever visited. Typically meaning place of salt, it has the world’s first salt mine here. As salt was the most important commodity, lots of workers were involved in mining salt out in the past. Later on, Hallstatt got more popular for its natural beauty as this little town/village is sandwiched between lakes and mountains.

Hallstatt is just a few hours away from Salzburg, Vienna or Prague and its definitely worth visiting – actually we would recommend that you definitely take 1 or 2 days to visit Hallstatt. Just a day tour will not do justice to this exquisite town. The train station (most convenient way to get to Hallstatt) is located across the lake, so you have to take a small ferry to reach the town – it is simple and no fuss. It’s a great way to arrive in this beautiful town because the views you get of the lake and the town are gorgeous. There’s much more to see and experience within the town, about which we have explained below.

We were so blessed and lucky to collaborate with tourism board in Hallstatt. Click here to visit their website to know more. We stayed at the cutest possible cottage room overlooking the lake – at Bräugasthof Hallstatt. The weather and views were just perfect in July but we heard that this place is breath-taking even in winter – white and pristine as it is covered in snow.

Tips before heading out to Hallstatt

  • Taking a guided tour around the town will give you access to the rich history and pretty views around every corner.
  • Though it is a small town, there are beautiful hotels around Hallstatt worth staying for a night.
  • If the weather is good, take the boat ride around the lake and lose yourself in the views.
  • Try to book a hotel room with a balcony overlooking the lake – you can spend hours just sitting there, enjoying a glass of wine and the breath-taking views.

Top things to do in Hallstatt 

Click on the images to view in full size

Salzwelten Funicular, Skywalk and Salt Mine Tours – You can take a ride up and down the funicular to get to the top of the 1,030-meter Hallstatt (Salt Mountain). Check out the “World heritage” views from the Skywalk. It extends over a sheer drop with the Hallstatt old town directly below. The views from the funicular are well worth the trip. The salt mine tour was also worth it and informative as it takes you through the history of the 7000 years old salt mine. You’ll also get to wear overalls and slide down wooden slides like a legit miner – so it’s a pretty interesting experience. Click here for more information.

The lake and the views – Almost every flower-decked house along the lake is gorgeous. The lake (Hallstätter See) poses perfectly for you to be able to capture the best postcard pictures with the swans and the clouds, the valley and flowers, the wooden houses and the churches. It was nice to just soak up the views, the fresh air and admire the serene nature. The peaceful lake surrounded by the majestic mountains made us fall in love with this place. We will definitely go back!

Market Square and shopping – The heart of Hallstatt is the historic Market Square. The entire town takes about 1 hour to walk 🙂 We had the ultimate pleasure of having a guided tour offered by the tourism board by our awesome tour guide who came dressed up in the traditional Austrian dress. We could not stop taking pics of the flowers, the houses, the views and everything – trust us, it was so hard not to upload all our pics onto this blogpost!!!

Make your way to the market square and weave in and out of the streets. Remember that Hallstatt is really small (just under 1 KM from end to end). Just walking along the town, looking up at the pastel houses with their charming flowerboxes, and peeking into the souvenir shops is a great way to spend the day.

Stroll around the cemetery grounds – The cemetery in Hallstatt is quite different! It’s actually not that eerie to walk through the cemetery grounds as each grave has its own small flower garden and a view of the lake – a fitting tribute to loved ones. But the interesting thing is that there is a small bone church in which you can see thousands of skulls. This might be eerie but definitely a unique experience altogether. The skulls are decorated with symbols/art and the person’s date of death. It’s a hauntingly beautiful display worth a look.

Super tasty food – Oh ya!! The Austrian food – so yummy. Lots of options for vegetarians too – I am going to let the pics below do the talking to your taste buds 🙂

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Hotel – We stayed at the Bräugasthof Hallstatt, courtesy of Dachstein Salzkammergut and it was wonderful. An old house converted into a hotel, preserved with all it’s charm and beauty. There are no elevators or lifts, so lifting our heavy boxes was hard but it was worth it. As you can see from the pics below, it was quite a cute and cosy room.

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This little Austrian village is a place Vijay have wanted to visit ever since he first saw a photo of it. Finally his dream came true and Sandhya is super glad that she was able to visit too! And definitely all thanks to Dachstein Salzkammergut for making this super interesting and comfortable for us.

As soon as you set foot in Hallstatt you could sense the unique atmosphere of the town. Hallstatt will remain long in our memories, where history and traditions have been preserved by the locals who love their town. Signing off with some more photos of Hallstatt, a lovely Alpine village! P.S: Looks like a town that Bollywood directors would love!

 

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